Tony Charters and Associates Tourforce  

Tourism is Your Business

  Tony Charters and Associates releases a regular newsletter Tourforce keeping stakeholders of the tourism industry connected with current issues, research, events and funding opportunities.
    Reproduction of any items from Tourforce is welcome, with acknowlegement of the source.
  Welcome to Tourforce!    
  Climate Change and Protected Areas

Perhaps the greatest threat over a sustainable future for Australia’s protected areas is that posed by climate change. Warnings of significant species loss in bio-regions such as the Wet Tropics, flooding in Kakadu and the effective death of the Great Barrier Reef through coral bleaching paints an extremely worrying scenario. The time scale of these potential futures ranges from 15 to 50+ years. In a world where even a ten year forward plan is rare, the concept of planning for 50+ years is almost impossible to imagine.


There are opportunities for protected area managers, both government and non-government to contribute to the Australia’s response to climate change and to significantly benefit as a result. Protected Areas already play an important role in sequestration of carbon. This role could be dramatically increased through a deliberate and proactive strategy of acquiring and rehabilitating degraded lands, establishing connectivity between forested islands and including them in the protected area estate.

There is increasing community concern about the proliferation of carbon credit schemes. You are left wondering ‘who exactly am I giving my money to?’ There is a real opportunity and need for Australia’s protected areas to create a fully audited and credible carbon offset program that directs money directly into the expansion of Australia’s protected area estate. Under this concept funds generated would be directed into catchment protection but at the same time the scheme would deliver carbon capture. For example, rehabilitation of riparian zones adjoining the Great Barrier Reef would reduce land-based pressures on the Reef and improve its resilience to climate change from other threats such as water temperature increases.

Such a scheme would also enable international and domestic tourists and tour operators to contribute to the offset scheme thus providing a direct relationship between their travel and protection of the iconic resources they visit.
Australia could link its climate change response to the symbiotic relationship between its natural heritage, tourism and climate change initiatives.

I will be addressing this issue in the upcoming Parks and Protected Area Management Congress (PPAMcon) which I am convening later this year. Please contact me on if you would like to contribute to the development of the PPAMcon agenda.

Tony Charters


  Economic Value of Wet Tropics Tourism

The Wet Tropics World Heritage Area generates almost $426 million worth of tourism per year due to more than 910,000 visitors staying on average for over three days and spending $147.41 per day. The research published by the Rainforest Cooperative Research Centre is based on over 800 international and domestic visitor surveys conducted at Lake Barrine, Mossman Gorge, Skyrail and the Marrdja Boardwalk in the Daintree. The study aims to establish a baseline to assist with future tourism planning and management of the World Heritage Area.

Further information:

  Compendium of Tourism Statistics

The World Tourism Organisation Compendium of Tourism Statistics is designed to provide a condensed and quick-reference guide on the major tourism statistical indicators in each country. The 2007 edition provides statistical information on tourism in 208 countries and territories around the world for the period 2001–2005.

Further information:

  Profiling the Queensland Grey Nomad – Research Results
  The membership of the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia was used as a preliminary sample group of the Grey Nomad population. 25 500 questionnaires were distributed to members nationally and 2192 surveys were returned. The below profile is based on a statistical analysis of the 676 Queensland resident respondents
  With relation to demographic characteristics, they:
• are mainly pensioners;
• primarily reside in non rural areas (approximately 2/3);
• tend to be over 50 years of age, the biggest group being 61-65 years;
• have a combined income of less than $30 000 per year;
• travel with companion; and
• travel at least 3 times a year, most often for periods of over a month (with average of 14.5 weeks at a time.)
  Just over 1/3 of respondents were currently employed and over half of these full time. Employment tended to be primarily in the fields of Retail and Office, Building and Health Related. There were also a significant percentage of part time directors and managers. Those unemployed in general were not seeking any paid work on a permanent basis.

The skills base of respondents was diverse, but lay predominantly in the areas of driving heavy vehicles, building trades and labour, as well as health (including paramedical, child and aged care) and engineering. Approximately ¾ of the skills base was current. Approximately 28.5% of respondents felt they needed/wanted skills updating. Sixty-three percent of members identify with the ‘mature age’ special needs employment group.

Approximately 56.7% of all respondents were interested in undertaking paid work in some form while travelling and over half of these had no major concerns regarding this idea. This group indicated retail and office work, rural/fruit picking, building trades/labour, health and cleaning as key skill areas of use in rural and remote communities.

Source: Grey Nomads - A potential mobile workforce, Stage 1 Summary Report. Prepared for: Department of Education, Training and the Arts and Tourism Queensland in collaboration with the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia.

Grey Nomad Profile: Click Here

  Best Practice
  Green Globe for Skyrail

Skyrail Rainforest Cableway has retained its title as the only Australian company to have achieved certified status under Green Globe 21. Skyrail was the first tourist attraction in the world to be certified in 2002 and to retain its status, Skyrail participates in external audits on its environmental performance including energy consumption, water consumption, waste sent to landfill, waste recycling, community contributions, stormwater management, paper products, cleaning products and pesticide products.
Further information:

  Continental Airlines to offer Carbon Offsetting Program
  Sustainable Travel International and Continental Airlines have announced plans to offer customers a voluntary carbon offsetting program which will allow travellers to calculate the carbon footprint of their booked itinerary and purchase carbon offsets online. Proceeds from purchased offsets are invested into global sustainable development projects including reforestation, renewable energy and energy conservation.

Further information:

  Appointment to Al Gore’s Mentor Program
  Tony Charters is one of a group of the original Al Gore Climate Project trainees recently appointed to act as mentors for the 2007 Al Gore trainees.

The mentor program aims to accelerate the establishment of support networks, develop a learning community for the new trainees and very importantly, pass on the pearls of wisdom from presenters to the new recruits.

Each mentor is assigned to around 12 trainees to be their first point of contact for initial questions about the training. The mentors then make a one year commitment to the trainees guiding them as they go out and begin to give their presentations. Two to three members of the trainee group will then be identified to act as future mentors for people in subsequent trainings.

Tony will attend the next Al Gore led program in Melboune, The Climate Project - Australia, in September 2007 where new recruits will be trained.

  Policy and Planning    
  Making New Zealand Tourism Sustainable    

A draft New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2015 is currently being developed between the private sector, Maori and government in New Zealand. Released in 2001, the New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2010 is being updated to provide an overarching vision for the entire tourism sector. As tourism is New Zealand's largest export earner, the strategy aims to ensure the financial success of business, satisfaction of customers, protection and enhancement of the physical environment and support of communities.

Further information:

  Victorian Nature-based Tourism Strategy

The Victorian Government have launched a draft Nature-based Tourism Strategy 2007-2011. The strategy aims to increase the profile of nature-based tourism in Victoria by ensuring a coordinated approach to policy, planning, sustainable development and marketing. The five year strategy which was allocated $6.3 million over four years in the 2007 State Budget is being jointly led by Tourism Victoria, Parks Victoria and the Department of Sustainability and Environment.

Further information:


Infrastructure & Investment
  Emirates Seychelles Hotel Development
The Emirates Group is investing US$253 million into a resort on Mahe Island in the Seychelles, east of mainland Africa. The 472 room resort is scheduled for completion by 2010. The Dubai-based airline is also looking at developments in India, Sri Lanka and east Africa to capitalise on its expanding airline network. The airline is currently awaiting completion of its AU$85 million Wolgan Valley resort in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney.
Further information:
  Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre Goes Green 
The new Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre will be Australia's largest combined convention and exhibition facility as part of a $1 billion development that will include a Hilton Hotel, Maritime Museum and a retail precinct on the Yarra River linking to Docklands. Due to open in 2009, the centre has been designed to achieve the first-ever six green star environmental rating for a convention centre and will be built with solar panels for hot water, black water recycling plant and focus on natural light to cut down on energy consumption. For further information visit:


  World Class Luxury Resort to open on Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef

A new tourism benchmark is set for Australia

An exclusive world class luxury resort will open on Hamilton Island on the Great Barrier Reef at the end of August this year. To be named Qualia, the resort is an important addition to the premium end of the Australian accommodation market and will provide a new reason for domestic and international travellers to re-look at Australia as a destination for their next luxury getaway.

Two to three hours non-stop flight time from Australia’s major east coast cities Qualia is located on the secluded and breathtakingly beautiful northernmost point of the island and marks the latest commitment by owners, Bob Oatley and his family, to the revitalisation of this stunning Whitsundays destination.

Further information:

  Penguin Jumpers
  Penguin jumpers are used after oil spills to stop oil-covered penguins from preening themselves and swallowing the toxic pollutant. Cleaning can be a very stressful process for penguins, they need to rest and regain their strength before the oil can be removed. The jumpers also keep the birds warm until they have regained their strength and are able to be cleaned. The jumpers were invented by the Phillip Island Nature Park wildlife hospital. The penguins only need to wear the jumpers when they are covered in oil and surplus jumpers are sold to visitors to raise money for the wildlife hospital.
Further information:
  Reef Check EcoAction Program
  The United Nations community coral reef monitoring network has launched its global EcoAction program in Australia. The initiative directly involves visitors to Australia’s coral reefs in conservation by providing a high quality range of ecotourism materials developed by Reef Check scientists. The EcoAction program is made up of 4 stages that will be sold by dive operators and resorts. It requires no previous experience and encourages tourist to actively participate in the conservation of Australia’s coral reefs. Further information:
  Climate Change
  Input to Tourism Action Plan on Climate Change

Tony Charters and Associates provided a submission to Commonwealth Tourism Minister Fran Bailey’s Action Plan on Climate Change.

Bringing perspectives gained as a protected area manager, sustainable tourism operator and National Chair of the Eco-certification program Tony expanded on three themes:

• preparing the tourism industry for Climate Change response;
• a credible carbon offset programs directed to protecting and expanding Australia’s parks and reserves; and
• Climate Change certification for the tourism industry.

The submission called for the government and tourism industry to respond positively and decisively on Climate Change.

  Asia Pacific Cities Summit
  From 31 August to 3 September Brisbane City Council will host the sixth Asia Pacific Cities Summit, the region's premier government and business forum.
The Summit's theme this year is 'Renewing Asia Pacific Cities'.

The summit's overall goal is to explore and develop business opportunities for the expansion of trade, investment and strategic linkages, within the leisure marine, waterfront development, urban renewal and sustainable tourism sectors.

    The Asia Pacific Cities Summit will give delegates networking opportunities with local, national and international decision makers from the Asia Pacific area.

Of particular interest is the introduction of a Sustainable Tourism stream in the 2007 program, bringing into focus issues of sustainability of the tourism industry and destinations as they relate specifically to city destinations rather than the traditional focus on natural and remote areas.

In addition to a high calibre delegation of participants, the 2007 Summit program features an unparallelled opportunity to hear from high profile and provocative speakers.

Leading human rights lawyer and world renowned QC Geoffrey Robertson of Hypotheticals fame will set the scene for the Summit as he moderates a panel of city and industry leaders to debate topics such as: What issues will affect Asia Pacific Cities in 2026? How will our cities cope with rapid population growth, infrastructure challenges and advancing technology?

QC Geoffrey Robertson
  International Speaker Line-up
  The Summit has confirmed a number of high profile Australian and International-based speakers, in a program that will offer delegates a diverse range of topics and a rare opportunity to interact with internationally renowned leaders.
  Charlie Hargroves is a co-founder and the Executive Director of The Natural Edge Project, a non-profit partnership on innovation for sustainable prosperity, awarded the Banksia Award for Environmental Leadership, Education and Training in 2005. Charlie has worked on projects with international partners such as the European Climate Exchange, Chicago Manufacturing Centre, World Technopolis Association, UNESCO and Rocky Mountain Institute, along with Australian partners including Santos, KBR, VicUrban, Griffith University, QUT, RMIT, CSR Limited, Hatch, and the Queensland EPA Sustainable Industries Division.  

Adding to the depth of the Summit’s program is Molly Harriss Olson - Director of Eco Futures Pty Ltd, an Australian-based international policy firm working on building sustainable strategies with business, government and civic leaders. Ms Olson is the Convenor of the National Business Leaders Forum on Sustainable Development, and an internationally recognised leader on sustainability. Ms Olson has extensive experience in Australia, the US and Sweden in bringing together industry and business leaders to tackle issues of Sustainable Development. In 2003 Ms Olson brought Al Gore to Australia for his first visit as the keynote at the National Business Leaders Forum on Sustainable Development.

Also part of the Summit program is well known Business Analyst, Property Advisor, Media Commentator, Consumer and Cultural Trends Commentator and Author Bernard Salt. He has established a position within corporate Australia as an adviser and as a commentator on consumer, cultural and demographic trends. He is the author of a best-selling book The Big Shift launched in July 2001. Bernard will identify key consumer, cultural and demographic emerging trends within the Asia Pacific region, the trends that will shape Asia Pacific cities and future scenarios for cities, with a particular emphasis on the outlook and implications for business over the next two decades.

  Great Places to Visit are Great Places to Live
  This session places a clear focus on synergies between what makes a great tourism destination also a great place for residents / local communities. The program includes a practitioner perspective – Social Planner Dr Wendy Sarkissian will bring to the Summit firsthand knowledge of many contexts, from developers’ boardrooms to low-income housing estates. Her presentation will focus in particular on Nature in our cities. Wendy’s presentation will explore the value of natural places in cities for residents, workers, and visitors (especially East Asian tourists) to reveal that Nature is a powerful drawcard, with qualities that greatly enhance community safety, wellbeing and health as well as visitor satisfaction with time spent in cities.
  Creating Liveable Cities
  Creating Liveable Cities will be a feature topic at the 2007 APCS. This focus arises as environmental awareness arising from climate change and associated threats is growing in conjunction with increasing numbers of people living in urban areas. Ecosystem services such provisioning of drinking water are raising opportunities for new kinds of markets that may allow many environmental public goods to become open to trade and exchange. Financial investments into developing such markets may create linkages between land parcels and habitat patches not only within urban areas and between cities regionally internationally; public goods generated in urban areas may include green spaces or combinations of green spaces and inhabited areas that are designated under a scheme such as biosphere reserves of the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme.
    A panel, organized by two Members of the International Secretariat of the MAB Programme of UNESCO, Paris (Mr. Natarajan Ishwaran, International Secretary of the MAB Programme and Mr. Peter Dogsé a Specialist in Ecological Economics working with the International MAB Secretariat) will explore these issues and opportunities with a view to identifying ideas for international co-operation under MAB’s urban ecology and climate change linked initiatives during UNESCO next medium term strategy (2008-2013). International and Australian experts from natural and social science disciplines and resource management practitioners will participate in discussions.  
  Sustainable Tourism Future Directions for Cities
  This forum is designed for cities wanting to develop a 21st century response to 21st century issues and opportunities in sustainable tourism. Sustainability has for some time been one of the hottest issues in tourism. The quest for sustainability (by industry, government / regulatory organizations, and increasingly consumers) continues to intensify as issues such as climate change gain increasing profile.

To date, much of the focus on increasing tourism sustainability has related to nature-based and smaller regional destinations. However we know that larger regional centres and cities play a vital role in the tourism industry as both gateways to regional destinations and destinations in their own right. The Asia Pacific region is home to some of the world’s iconic cities and major tourism destinations.

Tony Charters worked with the Asia Pacific Cities Summit secretariat to develop this program and will contunue the Sustainable Toursim stream of the Summit.

This Plenary session is specifically designed to inform and challenge delegates on topics relating to Sustainable Tourism Future Directions for Cities through keynote presentations and opportunities for interactive discussions with speakers.

  Speakers in the session include:

Richard Register - one of the world's great theorists and authors in ecological city design and planning. Richard believes cities can contribute to humanity's creative and compassionate evolution on a healthy Earth, in an exciting and rewarding built community from village to town and city scale. We can build it, and he will share with delegates how.

Richard Register
  Ken Chapman - Chief Executive Officer of Skyrail-ITM a specialist operator of cableways and tourist attractions with a vision to provide great tourism experiences worldwide. Ken sees tourism as a major growth industry throughout the Asia Pacific Region, bringing far ranging benefits to those cities that have positioned themselves to harness its power. Ken will share his views on how a destination can encourage tourism without losing its character, environment and soul drawing on his experience with Skyrail in Tropical North Queensland and Hong Kong.
Ken Chapman
  Tim Shadbolt - Mayor of Invercargill, New Zealand is a well known character throughout New Zealand. Never far from the spotlight, he has worked in motion pictures, television, print media and politics. Since the late 1960s when he was arrested 33 times for radical student activities, Tim has been a household name in New Zealand sometimes as a hero, sometimes an anti-hero. Tim will share with delegates his experiences of the last 12 years in Invercargill, including highlights from some of his promotional campaigns in which he has capitalised on opportunities for positive spin offs from events that could have been perceived very differently.
Tim Shadbolt
  Local Government and Climate Change    
  Climate Change and its associated impacts and challenges are taking shape as one biggest issues facing the international community with action required at all levels. Local governments around the world have an important role to play in responding to the greenhouse challenge, and will by their very nature, be at the forefront of taking action to respond to issues associated with Climate Change. This workshop will examine best practice examples of what can be done, the important role of local governments and partnerships with business and other regions to maximise the benefits.
  Discounted Registration for Tourforce Subscribers
  Tony Charters and Associates is very pleased to announce that we have secured a special offer for all Tourforce Subscribers interested in attending the Asia Pacific Cities Summit’s Plenary Session “Sustainable Tourism Future Directions for Cities” on Monday 3rd September in Brisbane City Hall, 9.00am - 1.45pm, including morning tea and a light stand-up lunch.

The full registration cost for attendance at this session is $500, however subscribers of Tourforce have access to a heavily discounted price of $295 (and full time students $145).

To register for this session please visit:

For more information on the Session, please contact Jessica Shelton of Management Solutions:
Ph: (07) 3210 0021

For further information on the Summit:

  North American Conference on Ecotourism

The 2007 North American Conference on Ecotourism will be held from 26 to 28 September in Madison, Wisconsin organised by the International Ecotourism Society. The three-day conference will bring together hundreds of ecotourism experts, government officials and travel industry practitioners involved in or working towards responsible tourism.
Further information:

  International Conference on Climate Change and Tourism

The World Tourism Organization will hold the second International Conference on Climate Change and Tourism in Switzerland from 1-3 October 2007. The Conference is organized together with United Nations Environment Programme and supported by the World Economic Forum. Climate change is a key issue for policymakers worldwide and tourism is an important element of discussions. The conference is targeting stakeholders from the public and private sector and representatives from the civil society.

Further information:

  SEGRA Conference 2007  
  Some of Australia’s most respected visionaries are being joined by international peers to discuss the future of regional development in Australia, at the eleventh Sustainable Economic Growth for Regional Australia (SEGRA) in Wollongong from 17 to 19 September 2007.  

Notably, Dr Keith Suter will make a presentation on Understanding and Capitalising on the Ever-changing Political, Social and Economic Environment.
Also on the bill is Oliver Freeman, managing director of the Neville Freeman Agency, who is highly regarded for his leadership in developing future-focused strategy, using scenario planning and other foresight techniques.

In his keynote address “All You Need to Know About the Future – in 15 minutes!” Mr Freeman will identify 15 disruptive shifts which will impact on regional development in the next 15 years.

Adding international expertise is Bob McNulty, President of Partner for Liveable Communities in the US, which he founded 30 years ago. Mr McNulty presents Crossing the Line: team building for regional cooperation in global economy.


The conference will run concurrently with a comprehensive schedule of climate change topics, including practical workshops on planning and adaptation tools.

To register for the conference please go to
For the full Media Release Click Here

  Ecotourism Australia Conference 2007  
  The Ecotourism Australia 2007 Conference will be held from 19 – 23 November, 2007. This year’s conference, themed ‘Leading Global Challenges’ will be in Melbourne and its surrounds, showcasing Victoria’s unique regions and cultural assets.

Ecotourism Australia is a not-for-profit organisation that has over 550 members throughout Australia covering key industry sectors. These include ecotourism accommodation, tour and attraction operators; tourism planners; protected area managers; academics and students; tourism, environmental, interpretation and training consultants; and local and regional tourism associations.

The Ecotourism Australia annual national conference is the major ecotourism event of the year, with the 2007 conference program providing delegates with the opportunity to examine and debate significant state, national and international issues impacting on nature based and cultural tourism. The delegation will be invited to formulate real resolutions to key issues, and to effectively chart a course for the industry for the coming year.

For more information please visit:


Tony Charters and Associates